Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – On Friday, August 17, 2018, security forces detained a number of Baha’i residents of Shiraz and transferred them to the Detention Center of the Intelligence Office of Shiraz (No. 100). Dorna Isma’ili, Negar Mithaghiyan, and Hooman Isma’ili were released later that day. Pezhman Shahriyari, Mahboob Habibi, and Koroush Rowhani remain in custody.
On Friday, HRANA issued two reports about the seizure and detention of Baha’is via Intelligence Office No. 100. In the hours following HRANA’s report, news networks affiliated with Iranian security agencies buzzed with accounts of unexplained and coordinated arrests of at least 40 Baha’i residents of Shiraz. As of the date of this publication, HRANA has not been able to confirm their reports and continues to investigate.
Baha’is in Iran do not have freedom of religion. This systematic repression is in violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These documents assert the rights of every individual to freedom of religion, religious conversion, and expression of their religious belief as individuals or groups, publicly or privately.
Unofficial reports indicate that there are over three hundred thousand Baha’is living in Iran. Meanwhile, the Iranian constitution only recognizes Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism as permissible religions, effectively rendering the Baha’i faith illegal. This loophole allows the Iranian government to systematically violate the rights of Baha’is with impunity.